Parliament Moves to Approve Nuclear Deal

October 5, 2015
On October 4, the Iranian parliamentary committee tasked with reviewing the nuclear deal presented its preliminary report to the Parliament. It highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but  emphasized the harmful effects some provisions could have on Iranian security. The committee is working on final report, some 1,000 pages long, that will be sent to top officials in all government branches of in two months. 
 
Strengths: 
 
  • Six U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iran would be lifted 
  • Iran would reserve the right to keep its heavy water reactor in Arak as well as the enrichment facility in Fordow 
  • Iran could continue to develop its missile program without restrictions 
  • Economic sanctions on Iran would be lifted 
 
Weaknesses: 

  • The JCPOA would require Iran to do more than other countries who are signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty 
  • Iran would not be able to quickly resume its nuclear program due to required technical changes, such as limiting the number of centrifuges 
  • Inspection of military sites would create security risks 
  • The deal may would leave Iran more vulnerable to foreign intelligence  
  • Certain sanctions would not be terminated until eight years after implementation of the deal
 
Five of the 15 committee members, however, issued a joint statement criticizing the report for ignoring “very positive points” of the agreement. The committee is working on final report, some 1,000 pages long, that will be sent to top officials in all government branches of in two months. 
  

The report proposed introducing and voting on resolution, within the week, that would give the government permission to implement the JCPOA under certain conditions. The key issue regarding next steps was timing. Lawmakers voted against fast-tracking the bill to the extent recommended by the report. So 75 lawmakers instead introduced a bill that would allow for 20 days of review. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani would have preferred voting sooner rather than later. “The more it is delayed, it harms us,” he said. Hossein Sobhani-Nia, Deputy Head of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said that Parliament will make a decision on the bill within 10 days and that a timely decision on the matter would show that Iran is committed to its international responsibilities.
 
The Iranian Government’s Reciprocal and Proportional Action Bill specifies that the administration should stop its voluntary activities and “adopt reciprocal measures” if the other countries party to the agreement violate its terms. Iran should engage in these measures to “restore the rights of the Iranian nation,” particularly if sanctions are not removed. The motion stresses the importance of Iran’s security and the need to protect classified information during inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Larijani referred the motion to the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission for review, which quickly approved it.